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by DUSTIN CARROLL & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & P & lt;/span & oison the Well basically invented metalcore music. In the 10 years since, it has redefined and reinvented what it should be. As with anything, innovators spawn imitators -- in this case, dozens have popped up over the years. Poison the Well, though, remains one step ahead, expanding on the horizons it set half a decade ago.

Beginning its journey as An Acre Lost (released a 12-inch split on Ohev Records), but only briefly, the band settled into its current name quickly and its debut album immediately followed. Distance Only Makes the Heart Grow Fonder set the schematic of what would become arguably one of the most important, least-sung, bands in the hardcore scene. While the group certainly combines elements of several forms of heavy music, ranging from punk to metal and everything in between, you don't mind the recycled At the Gates riffs or chugga chugga breakdowns with this band.

Poison the Well covers vast swaths of musical territory, which is readily apparent in every song the band crafts. The Opposite of December...A Season of Separation and Tear From the Red were released on august hardcore imprint Trustkill Records, and the group started seeing much-deserved recognition for its work. Helmed by the success of the single and companion music video for "Botchla," a series of tours with very different kinds of artists followed in the years to come, as P.T.W. saw itself playing alongside bands such as Shadows Fall, the Deftones, Thrice, Cursive and other genre benders. Having seen brief mainstream success with You Come Before You, which was released on Atlantic Records, the group split from the label and signed with indie staple Ferret for its latest album, Versions.

With Versions, the band has once again put a new spin on its craft, combining atmospheric elements with mandolins, banjo, a horn section, slide guitar and other forms of unique instrumentation on select tracks. The album stands out as a beam of individuality awash in the sea of relentless generic subsidized bands Poison the Well helped spawn.

& lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & J & lt;/span & oining Poison the Well on this tour are high energy hardcore-metal group Gwen Stacy, making its third stop in Spokane, and Duck Duck Goose, a band that is good despite the name. Local artists My Fatal Mistake and Nights in Fire open up the evening. When established artists like Poison the Well come through, you can always expect old faces from the scene to crawl out of their caves. If nothing else, go for a rare shut-in sighting.

Poison the Well with Gwen Stacy, Duck Duck Goose and Nights in Fire at the Blvd on Friday May 30 at 5:30 pm. $12, $14 at the door. All Ages. Call 455-7826
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